> CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
> http://www.biologicaldiversity.org 10-8-01 #285
>§ FULLY PROTECTED SPECIES REPEAL STOPPED IN CA LEGISLATURE
>§ PYGMY OWL HOLDS ONTO LISTING PROTECTION, LOSES CRITICAL HABITAT
>§ PROTEST FILED TO HALT LAND TRANSFER IN MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE FOR MINE
>§ REGULATORS HALT POWER PLANT NEAR ARIZONA'S BIG SANDY
>__________ __________ __________
>FULLY PROTECTED SPECIES REPEAL STOPPED IN CA LEGISLATURE
>The Center for Biological Diversity helped stop three bills in the
>California legislature this month that attempted to repeal California's
>Fully Protected Species law, the strongest species protection law in the
>country. Once designated as such by the California Legislature, a Fully
>Protected species cannot be killed or harmed under any circumstances,
>addressing loop-holes in the California and Federal Endangered Species
>Acts. Fully protected status has been crucial to the survival and recovery
>of the Southern Sea Otter, California Condor, Bighorn Sheep, San Francisco
>Garter Snake and dozens of other species throughout California.
>Commercial developers, water users, and other resource extraction
>industries put three bills before the legislature, each attempting to
>undue the Fully Protected Species law in a different way. The Center for
>Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, The California Native Plant
>Society, and other groups mounted a grassroots campaign to oppose these
>bills, and when the legislature ended this year's session none of the
>bills had passed; in fact, the opposition was so strong that none of the
>bills came to floor vote.
>While this victory is gratifying, it may also be fleeting. Developers are
>already encouraging Assemblyman Dean Florez (D), chair of the Water Parks
>and Wildlife Committee, to reintroduce Fully Protected Species repeal
>legislation in the next legislative session. The Center for Biological
>Diversity will be closely monitoring the Legislature to insure that
>California's species protection laws remain strong.
>__________ ___________ __________
>PYGMY OWL HOLDS ONTO LISTING PROTECTION, LOSES CRITICAL HABITAT
>Last month a federal judge removed pygmy owl critical habitat designation
>of over 730,000 acres in Southern Arizona, but uphleld its listing as a
>federally endangered species. U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton
>ruled that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service failed to adequately study
>possible economic impacts when the agency designated critical habitat for
>the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl in 1999.
>The ruling stems from a suit filed by the Southern Arizona Homebuilders
>Association (SAHBA), the National Association of Homebuilders, and the
>Homebuilders Association of Southern Arizona last year. The developers
>failed in their effort to get a ruling removing the cactus ferruginous
>pygmy owl from federal listing as endangered in Arizona.
>The judge ruled that the federal agency could limit owl population counts
>to those in Arizona. Developers' attorneys argued unsuccessfully that the
>owl population in northern Mexico also should be included in counts
>determining whether the pygmy owl is actually an endangered species.
>__________ __________ __________
>PROTEST FILED TO HALT THE TRANSFER OF LANDS IN MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE
>The Western Mining Action Project, on behalf of the Center for Biological
>Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association and Citizens For Mojave
>National Park filed a protest with the Interior Department to halt the
>patenting of 672.5 acres of mining claims in the Mojave National Preserve.
>If the Interior Department issues a full patent, the land will leave park
>ownership and become private lands as provided for under the 1872 Mining Law.
>The claims are associated with the Cima Cinder Mine in the austere and
>beautiful Cinder Cones area of the Preserve; lands that also are
>designated critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise.
>The National Park Service (NPS) regulates all mining in parks on both
>patented and unpatented claims. But, there is another good reason for
>limiting the patent for valid claims in the Preserve. The NPS regulations
>better protect park resources from mining on claims where the surface
>belongs to the park than on claims that are fully patented. Miners can
>still mine on claims even if they receive only a limited patent, as long
>as they meet the standards of the NPS mining rules, adopted in 1977.
>The Mining Law of 1872 is a relic of a bygone era when America was
>committed to disposing of its common lands. Under the antiquated statute,
>persons can get full title to the lands in a mining claim for a mere $2.50
>per acre. Congress clearly did not want that to happen to park land in the
>Mojave National Preserve. The Center, Citizens for Mojave and NPCA have
>taken the lead to protect Mojave National Preserve.
>To learn more about the Center's work in the California deserts
>__________ __________ ____________
>REGULATORS HALT POWER PLANT NEAR ARIZONA'S BIG SANDY
>By Max Jarman
>The Arizona Republic
>Sept. 14, 2001
>Arizona utility regulators blocked a major power plant this week, the
>first denial among a host of new electricity generators planned to meet
>future energy needs.
>The Line Siting Committee of the Arizona Corporation Commission voted 8-1
>late Wednesday to deny a certificate of environmental compatibility for
>the proposed Big Sandy power plant near Wikieup. It was the first such
>permit denied by the committee that in recent months has approved 10 others.
>The developers, Big Sandy Caithness LLC, a New York-based energy firm, may
>appeal to the Arizona Corporation Commission, which has final say in the
>matter. A Caithness representative could not be reached for comment about
>what the company plans to do next.
>A draft environmental impact study indicated the 720-megawatt power plant
>would have harmed the Big Sandy River, one of the state's few remaining
>riparian areas and home to the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher.
>While Caithness proposed a mitigation plan to repair any environmental
>damage caused by the plant, Chairwoman-designee Laurie Woodall said the
>committee was not convinced that it would be effective.
>"They presented a hydrological study based on a limited amount of data and
>an incomplete assessment of the impact the loss of water in the Big Sandy
>would have on endangered species," she said.
>Woodall noted the 11-member committee is bound by Arizona's Constitution
>to give special consideration to areas that provide habitat for threatened
>or endangered species.
>"It was a judgment call on whether the mitigation measures really provide
>enough security, and the balance was tipped to the side of protecting the
>environment," she said.
>Jack Ehrhardt, whose Citizens for Future Generations group opposed the
>plant, said he was elated by the committee's decision.
>The Big Sandy plant is one of more than 20 new merchant power plants
>proposed for the state. The project drew organized opposition from
>citizens and environmental groups.
>__________ __________ __________
>Center for Biological Diversity
>Tel: 520.623.5252, ext 302 Fax: 520.623.9797
>PO Box 710, Tucson AZ 85702-0710
Kierán Suckling email@example.com
Executive Director 520.623.5252 phone
Center for Biological Diversity 520.623.9797 fax
<www.biologicaldiversity.org> POB 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710